Nicholas Sparks is one of the most successful romance novel writers currently working today. Several of his books have become national bestsellers and have been made into feature films, grossing close to $900 million dollars. Sparks does a lot of work outside of writing, including founding a Christian private school in North Carolina.
The Epiphany School of Global Studies is a Christian prep school founded in 2008 in New Bern, where Sparks lives. The school promises faith-based education with an emphasis on world culture. Though the school’s mission statement promises an education that is “anchored in a Judeo-Christian commandment to love God and your neighbor as yourself”, emails have revealed that the environment might not be so loving after all.
Saul Benjamin, the academy’s former headmaster and CEO, accused the school and Sparks himself of racism, homophobia and harassment. Benjamin first brought up these accusations in 2014. Sparks and the academy have denied the allegations, and a lengthy legal battle has ensued over the years.
Today, The Daily Beast obtained emails written by Sparks to Benjamin that shed some light on the latter’s accusations. In these emails, the author expressed annoyance at Benjamin’s attempts to promote talks about sexuality and diversity, which allegedly promoted many angry reactions from students and staff.
In one email, Sparks believed that the lack of diversity in the school, which is overwhelmingly white and male, was due to money and culture. In another email regarding Sparks’ decision to not allow an LGBT club on campus, the author defended the decision as non-discriminatory because gay students are still allowed to attend the school. The emails go further to tell Benjamin to stop having what “some perceive as an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted”.
Benjamin has outlined several other complaints about Sparks to court, and the case is scheduled for a six-day trial in August.
Featured Image Via Vanity Fair